National Detective Programme FAQs

Choose a category below to view the FAQs.

Application, recruitment & selection process - Detectives

Yes, candidates can choose which force they would like to apply to upon completing their initial application form. We are currently partnered with 8 police forces, please visit the ‘Forces’ page of our website for further details on each force.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to all appointments in the Police Service and we welcome applications from individuals with disabilities. Adjustments will be made to selection processes and/or the working environment, provided it is reasonable in all circumstances to do so.

Candidates with a specific learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia, can request reasonable adjustments during the assessment process upon submission of documentary evidence compiled by a qualified professional e.g. a chartered psychologist. The report or assessment should have been written since your 16th birthday. Information on how to get an assessment for dyslexia or a report evidencing that you have a specific learning difficulty is on the British Dyslexia Association website.

Yes – all new recruits need to be fit and healthy. The fitness test will be undertaken by your force and consists of a shuttle run. Further information can be found here.

The role of a detective can be physically and mentally demanding and we must test your physical ability. Please have a look at this document for more details regarding the medical assessment and this document which should provide clearer insight into any medical considerations which would not be suitable for the role.

The Police Force’s Medical Practitioner will need to liaise with your own GP in regard to your medical history. The Home Office requires our medical team to review a form that has been signed off by a General Practitioner who holds your medical notes. You cannot enter the Police Service unless this is done, so please make sure you are registered with an NHS GP, and do not move to another GP during the recruitment process.

Yes, all applicants will be subjected to a substance misuse test during the course of the selection process. Your consent will be sought to take either a hair, urine or saliva sample prior to the test. Failure to provide a sample will result in your application being terminated. Please note, any instances of substance misuse in the prior 12 months to applying may negatively impact upon your application.

We will primarily contact you by email but sometimes also by telephone. Please make sure these details are always current and up to date once you have applied.

All successful candidates will need to provide a reference from their undergraduate university, any current employment, or previous employment if this is not applicable, and a personal reference. Anyone who has been employed by a Police Service or the Armed Forces, no matter for what duration or how long ago, will require a reference from this employment as well.

References will be sought three months before your start date, between receiving a conditional and final offer.

You will need to be available for a one-day Induction, probably in August (date to be confirmed) and to begin the Detective Academy in September. The Detective Academy runs for 12 weeks and you will be unable to take annual leave for this period – this is when you’ll start your employment as a Trainee Detective.

You will apply for the force you would like to be allocated to. The decision regarding where you are posted will be made in accordance with the operational requirements of the forces we are partnered with.

Please contact [email protected] to speak to the Recruitment Team who will be able to advise on any problems you may be having.

Mostly. You submit an online application, and then complete some online tests and a video & job insight exercise online. You can sit all of these elements at a time and place that suits you – whether that’s early in the morning or late into the night. We recommend you pick somewhere quiet and try and complete each exercise in one sitting. Please note you will have to attend an assessment centre in London.

Please email our graduate recruitment team at [email protected]

Detective Programme

You will apply for the force you would like to be allocated to. The decision regarding where you are posted will be made in accordance with the operational requirements of the force. You will receive further details from the force once you have received an offer.

The Detective Academy will begin 23rd September 2019 and will end 20th December 2019. The Academy will be followed by a period of rest days, prior to candidates arriving in force in the first week of January 2020.

Both programmes are mission focused, with participants aiming to transform communities by reducing crime and increasing the public’s confidence in policing.

The outline of the programmes is broadly the same. Participants across both two-year programmes will be assessed on the impact they are having, be supported by a Police Now Leadership Development Officer and have ongoing Skills sessions contributing to their overall continued professional development.

There is an eligibility difference between the two programmes. Detective applicants must have two years work experience. This is due to the detective role traditionally not being an entry-level role and therefore there is a need to demonstrate a level of work-place maturity. Despite both training Academies being fast paced and intense, the Detective Academy is longer due to the amount of extra learning required before a Detective participant arrives in force. Detective participants will complete a rotational programme across three postings, compared to the National Graduate Leadership Programme participants who will work as neighbourhood police officers and have a two year responsibility to transform a community. Upon completion of either programme, participants will be part of the Police Now Alumni network.

Both programmes provide a fantastic platform for a career within the police and the opportunity to have a positive, tangible impact on society.

All Detective participants will be required to pass the National Investigators Exam (NIE) in November 2019. Participants will achieve full Professionalising Investigation Programme Stage 2 (PIP2) accreditation by programme completion.

The Detective Academy is residential however you will be able to return home on a Friday evening for the weekend. You will be unable to take annual leave for this period – this is when you’ll start your employment as a Police Officer.

The Detective Academy will begin 23rd September 2019 and will end 20th December 2019. Location to be confirmed very soon.

Eligibility - Detective Programme

No. Applications have now closed for this year’s programme.

You must have a 1st – 2:2 undergraduate degree from a university in the UK or an equivalent from a non-UK university. You also need to hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C or above, or equivalent qualification including Key Skills Level 2.

Unfortunately not. We require you to have two years’ work experience which means you already need to have graduated with a minimum of a 2:2 at undergraduate degree.

Unfortunately, our eligibility criteria requires a 2.2 or above at undergraduate degree.

Yes, we recognise Key Skills Level 2 as equivalent to a GCSE Grade C in English Language.

As long as your degree is equivalent to a minimum of a 2:2 undergraduate degree from a UK university, you are still eligible. Please note that all educational certificates will be checked and for those that are not in English, a full certified translation must be provided.

There is no requirement to complete the Certificate in Knowledge of Policing (CKP). You will have to complete some study before joining the programme in September, but this is a bespoke pre-learn for Police Now which will come at no financial cost to you.

We will consider your application if you are aged between 18 and 57 years at the time of applying.

You can be of any nationality to apply, provided you have the status of indefinite leave to remain and you work in the UK. If you are a UK citizen or citizen of a member state of the EEA, you will have this status. If you are a citizen of a non-EEA state, you must be able to provide evidence of your passport and residency documentation.

You will need to have lived in the UK continuously for the past three years in order to apply. If you’ve been abroad during the last three years while serving in the UK Armed Forces, working for the UK government or if you studied abroad as part of your university degree, your application will still be considered.

Force specific requirements are detailed on the relevant force page of the website and are detailed in the table below.

Police Force Starting Salary Fitness Test Driving licence Other eligibility criteria
Avon & Somerset Constabulary £23,586 JRFT Yes Must live within the boundary of Avon & Somerset Constabulary by your posting start date (January 2020)
Cambridgeshire Constabulary £23,586 JRFT Yes
Greater Manchester Police £23,586 JRFT No
North Wales Police £23,586 JRFT Yes Must be a Welsh-speaker or be prepared to achieve Level 2 Welsh by December 2019 and Level 3 by September 2020
Staffordshire Police £23,586 JRFT & push/pull Yes
South Wales Police £20,370 JRFT Yes Must be a Welsh-speaker or be prepared to achieve Level 2 Welsh by December 2019 and Level 3 by September 2020
Warwickshire Police £23,586 JRFT Yes
West Mercia Police £23,586 JRFT Yes

Tattoos are not a total bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could be considered lewd, garish or provocative depending on their size, nature and location and therefore will not be accepted. Due to this, as part of the application process, you must declare and document any tattoos you have.

You must declare any convictions, cautions, charges, summonses, pending prosecutions or investigations. Ideally, you should not have a record containing any of the above. We need to be careful when recruiting, as a police officer with criminal associations or convictions may be vulnerable to disclose information, and certain offences can also undermine an officer’s position as a witness in court. Further details can be found here.

You are unable to apply to Police Now if you are currently or have previously been a serving police officer or have been attested and started training. Police Now is not a way for officers to transfer between police services or return to the police service.

You are still eligible to apply if you are currently or have previously been a police cadet, special constable, PCSO or member of police staff for any force.

You can only apply to one Police Now programme per intake year and therefore if you have already applied to our 2019 National Graduate Leadership Programme you would not be eligible for our Detective programme.

If you applied to our National Graduate Leadership Programme for previous intake years you would be eligible to apply for our 2019 National Detective Programme.

Candidates that have secured a place on the Neighbourhood Programme are unable to switch to the Detective Programme.

We require you to have two years’ post graduation work experience. This is because the detective role has not been traditionally been an entry-level role and requires a minimum of two years of work in the police. Entering directly into a more experienced role will require a degree of workplace maturity in order to stand the best chance of success in this working environment.

You do not need to have any previous policing experience or work experience in a particular field. The two year post graduation work experience requirement is due to the detective role not traditionally being an entry-level role and therefore a degree of work-place maturity is required.

Yes please apply and select the ‘no but I have extenuating circumstances’ option in the application form when asked about your work experience. We will consider this on a case-by-case basis.

Of course. We would only advise to listen to any feedback given during the last recruitment process as there will be similarities in the format of the Detective process for instance.

Police Now is a graduate programme and therefore we only take applications from those currently at or graduated from university. If your interest in the Police continues, we would recommend looking towards an individual police force to join the Special Constabulary or apply for standard entry as a Police Constable.

As Police Now is an independent charity it does not matter if you are applying to another police service at the same time or have recently applied and been unsuccessful.

Yes, we welcome applications from career changers and believe existing life and work experiences can be a real benefit when it comes to being a great detective – we require a minimum of two years’ post graduation work experience for the Detective programme because of this. In fact, more than 60% of last year’s National Graduate Leadership Programme cohort are career changers.

Applications open in early March and assessment centres will run from late April to mid May. We aim to give feedback after assessment centres very quickly and at this point, conditional offers are made.

It takes a particular combination of skills and abilities to become a Police Now participant. We are looking for ambition, focus, drive and resilience, and a passion and commitment for public service.

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